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Sharing Strategies: Overcoming Difficulties with Transportation

Hello Sisters!

A big *thank you* to all of you for responding to our survey!! We hope that you've received an email with a summary of the results and a powerpoint with highlights from the survey. Please let us know if you have not gotten the survey results and would like access to this information.

Reviewing the responses, we noticed that nearly all of you cited transportation as being one of the primary barriers preventing girls from participating in your programs. Specifically, issues of cost, safety, and distance were mentioned as difficulties with transportation.

Have any of you discovered successful strategies or creative solutions to overcome the barrier posed by transportation? What was the specific challenge you faced and how did you approach solving it?

We are sharing the survey results with you so that we can learn from each other, grow stronger through solidarity in our commonalities, and teach each other through the diversity of our experiences. Please use this space to share your best practices, thoughts, additional questions, challenges, solutions, and success stories.

THANK YOU!

Comments

gayatri's picture

Street harassment

Our center is located very near the community we serve, roughly about 1.5 kms. Still the challenge for the girls has been the transportation. Most of the girls have never stepped out of their community alone, even when going to school they go in groups. The main reason behind this was fear of street harassment / eve teasing.

Initially we encouraged girls to come in groups or take a rickshaw (a tricycle pulled by a person) if they have to come alone. We used to pay for the fare in such cases. We had to start this because otherwise many of the girls would miss sessions regularly. We prioritized discussions related to street harassment for a long time in out sessions. Some of the things we focused on were: what is street harassment, what can we do when we are harassed / teased in the street, who is responsible for it, is keeping quiet and staying inside the best way to get rid of street harassment, what actions can we take in what scenarios, who can help us.

3 very important things we learnt from this exercise -

One, we have to make the girls aware that we cannot retaliate in the same way in all situations of street harassment. We have to choose our battles wisely. Sometimes its best to escape and come back with help if needed. However, that does not mean we stay inside to protect ourself.

Two, it is easier to say that they should fight back, but for them to really be able to raise the voice is a huge effort. We told the girls to get help from other people on the street, but most of the times people dont help. So we asked them to call us immediately if there is a situation which they can't handle. We made sure someone from our team rushed to them for help. There were instances when some girls were stalked regularly. We used to go with them and talk to the stalker.

Third thing we learnt is that when we make the girls aware about what they are losing out on because they are too scared to step out of the house, they do make the efforts. They all want to lead a better life. If they know what they can do to keep themselves safe and that they have someone to help when needed, they do venture out of their comfort zone.

All the above mentioned efforts have helped hugely with the old batch of girls. But it has taken a long time to show the change, more than 6 months. We learnt that patience and perseverance on our part is much needed.

Last one month we have started a new batch. This time we have created groups of girls with one girl from the older batch as a mentor to each group. It is working well so far.

Gayatri

Anjali M's picture

From GFW's Asia Program Director

Issues of class and relative privilege obviously have a huge impact on this, but you might be interested in something I wrote a long while ago!

http://blogs.sanmathi.org/anasuya/2007/03/12/being-an-action-hero/

And often we have to use all of our imagination to solve the problem.

Here we will share with you three situations:

Last winter we had workshops with young Roma girls from small municipalities near Zenica (approximately each some 30 - 50 km away).
- at one workshop we have organized for girls to come as a group to INFOTEKA by train. Girls from Visoko and Kakanj participated at our workshop, representing two different Roma communities. At a workshop an internal conflict between girls from two communities occurred, which caused that the next day, girls from Kakanj haven't shown up at all at the bus station where a small bus (organized transportation) was waiting for them. As an excuse they said that the girls from Visoko have humiliated them - saying that they (girls from Kakanj) are illiterate and not up-to-today's fashion style, and that they do not want to have anything to do with them. A lesson learned from this situation is that we have to go first to the community that we want to work with, create a beneficiary group, work with the group on site before bringing the group to INFOTEKA.
- we tried to practice the above mentioned lesson learned at the first next opportunity. The INFOTEKA team traveled to a remote Roma community in Bilalovac, expecting to work with a group of 15 adolescent girls. Our plan was to have a small workshop on prevention of human trafficking. At the location where the workshop was supposed to take place - we found the following situation: more then 50 participants showed up, including a single father with his 3 years old toddler, some 20 adolescent Roma boys, pregnant women, and other adults, as well as our beneficiary group. We had to change the concept of our workshop totally, among other things - we had to develop on the spot edutainment games to involve all the participants, and to structure our workshop in such way that despite the circumstances we give the lessons on prevention of human trafficking. A lesson learned from that situation is always expect the unexpected, and have a good moderators case full of toys and tools for various edutainment games ready!!
- last month we had our last workshop in a remote village called Gorica. The plan was to have a small workshop on women's human rights with representatives of a local women's group. All was fine but the temperature inside the room where we were working was bellow 0 degrees Celsius. We worked with all our jackets and gloves on. At the premises there was no running water (all the pipes were frozen), and no heating. A question has to be asked: What do we call a suitable minimum working conditions?

We believe that working directly in communities actually brings the highest results.
However, we have to learn to try to prevent all the unexpected situations, and always to be ready to provide an answer to all unpredicted situations and conditions.

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